Re: language/ dance and the archive

Johannes Birringer (
Tue, 21 Oct 1997 00:11:59 -0500

>1. Dance is a non-verbal artform

>3. Movement speaks for itself

thanks Scott for sharing with us your parameters or distinctions. What you
write about the relations between dance, language, technology may inspire
many responses. And somehow our list is one form or one forum of thinking
and moving through the complex relations between physical movement (motion
is something else, in my opinion, and the term "motion" implies a different
conceptual knowledge or formation already [physics, math maybe] and
discourse, and the "languages" and applications of technology (hard and
soft-ware, although here, perhaps following Darren, we might need to
distinguish also between instruments, their theories and applications as
coding systems and electrical bodies, and software as practicallly applied
creative movement transmission and code translators). When one speaks of
"writing code" for a composition or a "performance" - what does that mean
to us, and how do we develop and transmit our investment and interest in
new dance/technology forms and forums?

I think the "archive" (thanks much, Mark) is one forum we can continue to
use, another forum wold be a gallery or platform on which we could work
on-line with proposals, as Amanda suggested earlier this fall.

Two points here. a) I am interested in how others react to the archive (my
personal archive that I keptis quasi-chronological; our new one is not, and
organised in ways I had not expected, because it creates, in my mind,
strange categorization clusters of subjects/authors and such, that I find
more difficult to use if I were wanting to follow a discussion as it
actually took place among us over a period of time, although others may
have read the threads otherwise, delayed, out of sync. What sync?

I wonder whether someone would be interested in working together on a
visual website for the archive that installs a visual/verbal hypertext with
avenues to travel, to move along with. I am looking forward to Andrea's
current work for danceonline.

b) I am not sure what the implications are of what I just said: the visual
But Diane kindly responded to my comments on last weekend's ZKM event, and
now, thinking, I have a second take at that. I answered her, and expand here:

>I actually don't regret (learning from) the experience, since it's upon
us, it's >coming, and I am curious (and will follow up, e.g. copyright
question concerning what >they do with your images once you have given
them/emailed them to them) - it could be >that the image and soundfiles are
stored permanently in their exhibition archive, as >public installation.

And apparently the event got great news/broadcast coverage in Germany,
drawing audiences, and although on the online-event the images were
present each for only 3 minutes in the constant stream, decontextualized as
"pure images" without titles, captions, etc, they will now have an
afterlife as "permanent exhibitions" on the ZKM Globalbodies website or
there locally.

This raises questions (regarding ZKM's establishment of a new contemporary
"new media/technology" museum and laboratory,) what can we do in terms of
inserting/placing dance into such online events that are s t o r ed,
becoming an ARCHIVE. But then again, what is live performance doing in a
museum, is this the future "site" of performance (website)? O., to return
to Scott's initial language:

If dance is a nonverbal artform, which can speak for itself, why is that we
are not working with it speaking itself, but we speak through it and image
it and recompose it all the time. Are my 6 gif.files of a dance video of a
dance performance/installation speaking for themselves? They do, but they
don't speak for the dance entirely. Would a CuSeeMe live clip (with its own
fuzzy delays) speak of the live dance? No, not entirely. Would RealVideo
be more adeuate to the movement of dance? No, not entirely, but I do want
to mention that at the Liquid Lab I had a furious argument-discussion with
an black woman filmmaker who is fighting tooth and nail for analog media,
and considers CuSeeMee and digital video a distortion of language. Meaning,
for her, realtime is not realtime in an online link, and CuSeeMe is an
impoverished language. I agree of course, but got to thinking about delays,
and time.

I wonder whether my own work (on memory) is actually about delay structures.

I stop here,

Johannes Birringer
AlienNation Co.